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Ex-Penn State LB sues insurance company over disability policy

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Former Penn State linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White is going to court with an insurance company in a case that is sure to draw interest from those around college athletics.

White took out a disability policy after the 2015 season when he opted not to declare for the NFL Draft the following spring. He returned to State College but was injured early on in the 2016 campaign during a non-conference game against Temple and tore his ACL, knocking him out for the rest of the season. That is apparently where the issues arise as he tried to collect after going undrafted last month in the 2017 NFL Draft.

PennLive.com reports that Wartman-White subsequently filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. Middle District Court against International Specialty Insurance Co., which holds the policy. The linebacker is seeking as much as $1.5 million in “actual, compensatory and punitive damages that amount to at least the benefits of the policy.”

The purchase of disability policies is nothing new in college football as high-profile sophomores, juniors and seniors often take out insurance in case they suffer a career-ending (or threatening) injury during the course of a season. Michigan tight end Jake Butt recently collected a reported $543,000 insurance payout after dropping in the draft following his ACL tear in the Orange Bowl, for example.

It seems as though Wartman-White is looking for a similar payment but, in light of this week’s lawsuit, he may have to go to court in order to collect on his policy.

Trial date pushed back for suspended Michigan WR Grant Perry

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The status of one Michigan wide receiver appears it will be up in the air for a little while longer.

Suspended wideout Grant Perry was originally scheduled to go to trial on May 15th in a case stemming from an incident last year but, according to MLive.com, that trial date has been pushed back and a new timeframe has not yet been announced. He faces two counts of sexual assault as well as an additional count of minor in possession and a felony count of resisting a police officer.

The charges stem from a mid-October incident last year in which Perry was accused of groping the groin and buttocks of a female Michigan State student.

Perry was initially given a two-game suspension by head coach Jim Harbaugh and wound up returning to action to post up 13 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown last season. After charges were filled however, the receiver was suspended indefinitely prior to the Wolverine’s bowl game against Florida State.

MLive.com notes that Perry has remained suspended from team activities this spring, including practice and the team’s trip to Italy. Michigan is replacing a lot of production at his position heading into next season but it seems that with his trial pushed back, they likely are not going to be able to count on Perry being part of the equation in 2017 until the legal system runs its course.

 

Jake Butt’s draft tumble will net him $543k insurance payout

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The decisions to sit out their team’s respective bowl games made by Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey had little impact on either’s draft stock as both were selected in the Top 10 Thursday night.  Jake Butt‘s decision to play in his ended up costing him dearly, although he will see a (wee) bit of a financial cushion softening the blow.

Butt suffered a torn ACL in Michigan’s Orange Bowl loss to Florida State late last year.  At the time, Butt was considered one of the top tight end prospects for the 2017 NFL draft, with most experts considering him, at worst, a second-round selection.  Most, though, had him ticketed as a first-round pick in a deep class at the position.

Unfortunately, Butt saw his draft stock plummet because of the injury, with the talented tight end falling all the way to the fifth round as he was selected with the No. 145 overall pick by the Denver Broncos Saturday afternoon.

The injury and subsequent fall cost Butt millions of dollars.  The sliver of a silver lining is that Butt had taken out an insurance policy that will pay him a tax-free sum of $543,000, Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reported.

That said, Butt saw what would’ve been a potential signing bonus in the neighborhood of $4 million drop to just shy of $400,000.  Even considering the insurance payout, the injury will have cost Butt, at bare minimum, $3 million.

It could also have significant ramifications for the sport moving forward as, with the recent examples of Butt, Fournette, McCaffrey and even Jaylon Smith (HERE) fresh in their memories, star players could, more than ever, give significant consideration to skipping out on their team’s bowl game — maybe even a playoff game.

Dad of RB Kingston Davis says son will transfer from Michigan

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Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.

The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines.  Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.

While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.

Michigan WR Grant Perry waives preliminary hearing, remains suspended

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One Michigan player’s off-field odyssey will continue to keep him away from his football team.

Grant Perry, mlive.com has reported, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will stand trial on multiple counts, including one felony.  The wide receiver has been accused of groping the groin and buttocks of a female Michigan State student outside of an East Lansing bar in mid-October.

Formally, Perry has been charged with two counts of sexual assault, and one each of a minor in possession of alcohol and resisting an officer.  The latter charge is the felony, the others are misdemeanors.

Thus far, a trial date has not been set.  Perry’s attorneys are seeking a course that would ultimately end in probation for their client as a first-time youthful offender.

The defense has asked for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. The act allows a judge to place a defendant between age 17 and 24 on probation without a conviction. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of their probation they avoid having the charges on their criminal record. Reynolds said Perry could still be granted HYTA status at the circuit court level, which he plans to seek.

Shortly after the incident last year, Perry was suspended for two games.  In mid-December, and after serving the initial suspension, the 19-year-old sophomore was indefinitely suspended by the football program after charges were formally filed.  Perry did not travel with his Wolverine teammates to their bowl game.

The suspension will remain in effect until at least the case winds its way through the legal system.

Last season, Perry had 13 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown.  His 14.1 yards per catch were third on the team for players with 10-plus receptions.  Over his career, the rising junior has 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 catches.